Novak Djokovic on Sunday partially lifted the veil on the abdominal muscle injury which pla/gued him through the final week of his run to a record ninth Australian Open title.
But he will save the juiciest of the details for a documentary which has been shot during his six-week presence in Australia during the one-off summer of tennis, COVID-edition.
The world No. 1 who beat Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 had been keeping most of Melbourne life behind the scenes confidential after the third round injury nine days ago which he has refused to speak about.
But after saying in the moment that the problem might force him from the tournament, the 33-year-old proceeded to win four more matches, claiming the trophy in a sprint finish over his Russian opponent.
Job done, Djokovic filled in some of the blanks:
“It’s a muscle tear, of the abdominal oblique, I felt it right away when it happened against (Taylor) Fritz in the third round,” he said.
“I was guessing that it was a tear because of the snap and the way I felt after that.
“I know there’s been a lot of speculation, people questioning whether I’m injured, how can I recover so quickly,.
“I get it. Everybody has the freedom to criticise others. I just felt like it was a bit unfair at times – but hey, it’s not the first nor the last time.”
The 18-time Grand Slam winner – half of his career major trophy haul has come in Melbourne – credited his physio and the tournament doctors for patching him up enough to compete match after match..
“What we did in the past nine, ten days, you’ll get a chance to see in detail probably end of this year when the documentary comes out,” he said.
“I’ve been filming a lot of things that I’ve been doing here, but also in the previous months, six months. We’re planning to release it at the end of this year.
“You will be able to see more of the routine of recovery, stuff that was going on behind the curtain.”
Djokovic has had a notable half year or more.
Besides the pandemic and his ill-fated Adria Tour in June which resulted in positive COVID cases for himself and wife Jelena, he was also DQ’d from the US Open for accidentally striking a lineswoman with a loose ball and lost the French Open final in straight sets to Rafael Nadal.
Main photo:- Novak Djokovic receives on court treatment for oblique muscle injury by -Tennis Australia/ ROB PREZIOSO